Being Ghosted

Written by: James White

Have you had a conversation with someone and then it has gone all quiet?

We have all been there. We have had great sales conversations and sent them information and then we have been ignored and heard nothing at all. What’s going on? What’s happened? It seemed like it was a great conversation but then it just went flat.

Why did that happen and what can we do to prevent it from happening?

In these situations what I generally tell business owners whom I work with, is in most cases there is a number of things they’ve not done at the right time (or they’ve done too much at the wrong time) that has resulted in the prospect ghosting them.

Much of it is due to the way in which humans behave. When we try to understand the human psyche and how people are, we can then start to see how they’re going to behave in certain situation. Becoming an expert in human psychology and how people operate is key for sales!

Here are a few things I’m going to encourage you to do when a prospect ignores you after an initial conversation.


If you’ve recorded it on zoom or on Teams, even better. Go back and review what you said. Look through the notes you made and see how much of the other person did you actually get to understand? What was going on in their world?

In my experience, most salespeople are focused on what they feel they need to say, and not the needs of their prospect. This means that when they then have sales conversations, they’re talking about themselves rather than the other person.

Usually, the other person is too polite to say “uh shut up, I’m bored”. Instead, they listen and simply ignore the salesperson after the conversation.


  1. How much time you were taking versus the other person?
  2. What were the key problems and challenges and goals and desires that the person had?
  3. Did you ask open questions that enable them to share what they were thinking?
  4. At the end of the conversation, did you summarise what they wanted to do and get them to own that situation?


Those are critical factors when it comes to selling to be able to build that initial rapport. You generally can’t do business on the first instance you meet someone, but you certainly can lose it.


When you’ve gone back and reflected, were you really good at reading the signs during the conversation?

I have this video about emotional sales intelligence:

One of the critical components of sales is having self-awareness so you can actually know what someone else is trying to do or think and react accordingly to that.

What I see in a lot of cases is that people read the signs wrongly. They assume someone may be happy when actually they’ve not really probed underneath the surface. The person is giving them superficial answers or top-level answers, not answers that actually mean something to them. Most people just don’t react to what that person’s giving them in terms of signals or the sings and they carry on regardless and it means that when they then go to have another conversation in time they’ve misread what happened.

Here are a couple of things to look out for:

  • The way in which the other person engages you with their body language when you mention certain areas.
  • Their reaction when you mention certain challenges.
  • Do they react? Do they lower their tone or does their tone go higher?

We’ve got to be able to read the signs and more importantly are they open to sharing with you some of the key things they’re trying to get resolved and can we really assess whether those things are actually big factors for them?

We all put barricades up as humans because we’re afraid of being sold to and our job as sales professionals is to get beneath the surface to read the signs and signals. Become an expert in reading other people in the situation and it’s hopefully going to help you ensure that you don’t then have a meeting with someone then don’t hear from them again.


When you’re finding that you’ve had a great conversation with someone, end the initial interaction with a great summary.  Follow your summary by getting them to own the situation.

What do I mean by this?  In the last half hour, ask them open questions of what they want to do next, or how they want to move forward.  How do they want to get their problem/challenge solved?  

Most people will respond “I’m keen to get a proposal and carry on the conversation”, in which case, we can react accordingly and say, “Great, happy to do that.  Let’s carry on the conversation next week. I’m happy to share some information and a proposal but let’s talk about what you want to include to make sure that we get the right information to you.”

As business and sales people we always want to put ourselves in control and sometimes we have to put the other person in control in order to move that conversation forward 

The key thing to do is to summarise and put them in control of the situation and let them decide how they want to operate and move forward knowing that we’re then going to support them or not.


When I’ve had meetings with people, I like to add value to the follow-up conversations and emails that I make with the prospect. 

Be able to say, “you mentioned this problem, and here’s a research article/link we have created that can help you deal with that”. 

Show your prospect that you are focused on supporting them and creating a difference in their world not just selling to them. They will be more likely to meet with you again. 

By reacting the right way and responding the right way, they will see you as someone they want to engage with.

These four things are critical when it comes to trying to ensure that a person doesn’t avoid you after the initial call.

  1. Review your approach
  2. Read the signs
  3. Summarise the conversation
  4. Add value

Doing these things, it’s going to help you avoid that difficult situation of someone saying they are keen to meet and then not turning up. We want to avoid being in that situation, we don’t want to waste our time and energy and emotion chasing people that are never going to become customers.

Doing those four things at the end of the conversation, it will help to ensure that you don’t get ignored and will lead to more opportunities that are going somewhere and can lead to business rather than chasing things that are never going to happen.

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Publish date: 17 August 2022

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